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Landsbergis: “The agreement on sanctions against Belarus is a long-awaited step that should reduce the chance of circumventing the EU’s sanctions against Russia”

In response to Belarus’ role in Russia’s war against Ukraine, the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and Russia’s continued active use of Belarus to bypass sanctions, the Council agreed on new sanctions targeting Belarus so that they align more closely to those on Russia and Belarus no longer serves as a route to circumvent sanctions against Russia.

“The sanctions against Belarus agreed on today are a long-awaited step that should reduce the chance of circumventing the EU’s sanctions against Russia. This is further proof that the EU and Lithuania are consistently continuing to tighten sanctions against Russia and Belarus. We hope the EU’s work on this issue will continue and help mobilise us to find common, effective solutions to combat the circumvention of sanctions. The new sanctions against Belarus are not fully aligned with the existing restrictions on Russia. Therefore, in coordination with other border states, it is necessary to maintain reinforced control measures at the external border of the EU to ensure effective implementation of sanctions and thus crack down on the circumvention of sanctions,” Landsbergis said.

The new sanctions package extends export and import restrictions to additional commodity codes, especially in the high-tech and industrial goods categories subject to the bans. A ban on the import of helium was also introduced, as well as a ban on the provision of services to the Government of Belarus or enterprises controlled by it.

The Belarus sanctions package also includes specific anti-circumvention measures, which were also adopted in the 14th package of sanctions against Russia. These measures include obliging EU operators selling, supplying, transferring, or exporting sanctioned goods to have due diligence measures for identifying, assessing, and mitigating the risk of sanctions circumvention. In addition, EU operators must make every effort to ensure that entities established outside the EU that are owned or controlled by them do not engage in activities that violate the EU restrictive measures in place.